Today I am finally getting to a post that I have felt that I should write but have put off because it is difficult to share. I got the title from a picture of someone who had a the words tattooed beside her scar. As far as I can recall, she was saying that scars are nothing to be ashamed of and we can be proud of our scars because they show we have survived an obstacle in our life.
Before my first surgery, I never realized how much a scar can affect a person emotionally. After my first surgery, I was technically fixed but left this long scar on my back (as well as a really long recovery). I remember one night coming to a realization that I could no longer wear tank tops or anything that would reveal my scar. I was self-conscious and worried what people might think of it. I worried that people would think differently of me because of my scar. I thought I was alone in this because some people I talked to thought I was silly for feeling this way. Although they didn’t have large visible scars and I think they simply had difficulty relating to me. Later I found out that this is a very common reaction to scars. It took me well over a year before I had the courage to wear a tank top that showed even just the top of my scar, but I continued to be self-conscious about it. It took 2-3yrs before I was comfortable wearing a tank top and didn’t think so much about people seeing my scar. I am rather lucky that it isn’t as visible as it could be because I have such a wonderful surgeon who did a great job closing me up (all 3 times) that minimized the amount of scarring on my back. But there is still the emotional side of it regardless of how visible it is.
Another emotional issue I dealt with (and still do) was seeing someone else’s back that was “seamless” as I call it and beautiful. I thought my back wasn’t beautiful because it had a long scar on it. I wasn’t “normal” and would never have a beautiful scar free back like other people do. I would see models or actors in tv shows and see their beautiful backs and I would feel shame about my own back. I have actually felt shame about my back for much of my life, but before the surgeries it was for a different reason – it was visibly curved and I considered it to be quite ugly. I feel I need to mention that I do very much prefer a scar to the way my back was before. Not only is it better cosmetically but I have a chance of living a fuller and less painful life.
When I really think about how I feel about my scar, it does seem silly in a way and I don’t understand why I am dealing with it at all. But regardless of how it may seem, it is something I struggle with and a very common issue. A few years back I saw an article in a magazine about a woman who struggled with keeping her scar covered for many years. She had scoliosis surgery when she was young and felt self-conscious about her scar. The interesting part of this story is that I read the article while waiting in my specialist’s office for another follow-up appointment after one of my surgeries. I instantly related and understood her struggle because I was dealing with it as well. I also realized I was not odd to be dealing with this problem. If I had read the article before my first surgery, it wouldn’t have meant nearly as much as it did at that moment. She dealt with her fears by “bearing it all” and getting her back photographed and it was in the magazine for all to see. I know I wouldn’t be able to do that but I have been talking with a photographer friend I know about taking some tasteful photographs of my scar for the purpose of helping me conquer my fear of people seeing my scar. It would also be done to share that even though my back isn’t scar free-it is still beautiful. It shows that I have survived. 🙂
I am beginning to learn that the scar on my back is something to be proud of because it shows that I have been through something and survived… I conquered the obstacles that caused that scar and I am still here.In some ways I have conquered it three times. lol I am also happy to say that I didn’t merely survive but I grew through the experiences as well. I found some quotes/thoughts on pinterest that I would like to share about scars. I think they fit with this post. 🙂
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post. I really appreciate it. 🙂